Benefits of Staying at a Disney Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Disney Resorts

When planning to visit Walt Disney World, some might say “to do it right, stay at a Disney Resort”. While there is no one “right” way for everyone to vacation at the most magical place on earth, there are benefits of staying at a Disney Resort. Staying close to the parks does come with a price, but keep in mind, you get more than “just being closer to the parks” for your money at a Disney Resort. Comparing what is included can sometimes make off property the same or more cost than staying at a Disney Resort, with less convenience.  [Read more…]

Disney Souvenirs Under $10? Lollypops!

Updated for 2017!

Disney World vacation souvenirs are expensive. As soon as you announce plans for your upcoming Orlando trip, friends will start casually saying, “Hey, bring me something back from Disney World.” Well now the pressure is on, and you have to decide if you will spend the big bucks or look for small trinkets. $35 t-shirts and $59 sweatshirts will kill your budget; I don’t always fit those items in my budget for myself. You may need something way less expensive.

I spent a lot of time looking around the gift shops as a child in the 70s, and these items remind me of childhood vacations munching on candy we could afford to buy in the parks. You know kids usually can’t afford much else.

Say hello to the Disney lollypops! [Read more…]

Disney Resort Hopping? Our Best Tip to Watch a Sunset

Disney’s Contemporary Resort opened on October 1, 1971, one of only two original properties located at the Disney World complex alongside Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.  With an A-frame main building and located adjacent to Magic Kingdom park, it’s one of the most iconic buildings on WDW property. Visiting the Contemporary Resort is a must do.

You don’t have to pay for a room at the Contemporary Resort to look around, however, because you can resort hop. [Read more…]

How to Budget for a Walt Disney World Vacation: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

How to Budget for your Walt disney World Vacation

When 2017 Walt Disney World Vacation Package Pricing came in 2016, prices went up. Price increases shouldn’t discourage you from planning a vacation. NOW is a great time to think about and plan how to budget for your next Walt Disney World Vacation. Want to know WHY you should plan your vacation now rather than later? Soar into 2018 with your plans set and have one less thing to worry about next year. If you plan and book now, you have between 5 months to 16 months to budget, save up, and pay for your 2018 vacation. [Read more…]

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

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Updated for 2017!

As the newest resort on Walt Disney World property, completed in 2012, the Art of Animation Resort will give you and the kids the feeling of being a character in some of your favorite Disney movies. Whether you are going under the sea with Nemo and Friends, swimming with The Little Mermaid, chilling out in Radiator Springs with Lightening McQueen and Mater, or enjoying the essence of the African savanna with Simba and his friends Timon and Pumba, Art of Animation has something for everyone of all ages.

This value resort provides the amenities and perks as other value resorts on property but can comfortablly accommodate larger families.

Compared to the other Disney value resorts, The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms are perfect for any budget. And while the Family Suites are higher priced than those found at All-Star Music Resort, your kids will definitely enjoy the adventurous feel of each differently themed area.

This list of pros and cons for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will help you decide if this should be your next choice for your magical Disney World vacation!

Read: A Cheapskate Prince$$ Guide: Top 10 Freebies at Disney World

7996404249_d7aeb790c2_zThe Inovabed in the Lion King Suite, one of 1,120 Family Suites available at Art of Animation

Art of Animation Resort Pros:

Standard Rooms: 

The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms can accommodate up to four guests, plus one child under the age of three in a crib.

These rooms have two full beds.

Family Suites

For larger families, the Family Suites comfortably accommodate families of six.

While all rooms have a mini refrigerator, the Family Suites, also have a microwave and a kitchenette.

Family suites also have two bathrooms.

All Family Suites have three separate sleeping areas. The master bedroom has one queen, sleeper sofa with double bed, and the Inovabed that converts from a table to a double bed.

Pools:

There are three amazing heated pools; The Big Blue Pool (the largest at the resort and has an underwater soundtrack in the Finding Nemo Courtyard), Flippin’ Fins Pool (Little Mermaid courtyard), Cozy Cone Pool (Cars Courtyard).

The main pool and kids splash area have zero entry, which is perfect for little ones.

The Schoolyard is a water play area for the little ones; Squirt’s Righteous Reef Playground and The Boneyard Playground are all play areas for your little animators.

 

Read: Prisma: The FREE App You Need for Your Disney Vacation Photos

Dining

Landscape of Flavors Food Court includes five distinctive food shops – The Soup, Salad and Sandwich Shop, The World Flavors Shop, The Pizza Shop, The Burger Shop and The Market.

The Drop Off is a poolside snack bar and delivery service.

Freebies included with your Reservation

Registered guests receive free resort and theme park parking.

Registered guests receive access to Extra Magic Hours in the parks when offered.

Transportation

Airport transportation is free using Disney’s Magical Express.

Free Disney Theme Park transportation is offered via service bus every 15-20 minutes.

There is a dedicated Disney transportation bus for Art of Animation guests only, as opposed to All-Star Value Resorts which all share the same bus line.

Fun Lobby

Animation Hall Lobby houses Pixel Play Arcade as well as, an interactive, hands-on area where a Disney artist teaches guests how to animate favorite characters.

Read: Disney World’s Memory Maker: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

7320062486_45965f6fb0_zFinding Nemo Courtyard features The Big Blue Pool, The Schoolyard, Squirt’s Righteous Playground

 

Art of Animation Resort Cons:

The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms are the farthest away from Animation Hall, like all standard rooms, so at the end of your day in the parks, it can be a long walk.

Finding Nemo suites are now considered a “preferred location” which means they are more per night than Cars or The Lion King Family Suites.

There are only a few Standard Rooms available with a King Bed.

While this is value resort, the price of the themed suites are more than the Family Suites at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort.

Because this resort is a great option for families, especially larger families, it can definitely be noisier during high peak travel times.

If you are a family of five, the themed Family Suites at Art of Animation Resort are not the least expensive option on property. If are trying to stick to a tight budget, certain room which accommodate five at the moderate resorts can be more cost effective.

Read: Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival : A Cheapskate Princess Guide

102 (2)The Little Mermaid wing featuring 864 Standard Rooms

These pros and cons will help you decide if Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the best fit for your family. My opinion is this is a great resort to try for your next Disney vacation. Whether you stay in The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms or any of the Finding Nemo, Cars or The Lion King suites, the pros outweigh the cons with this property.

With the right planning, you can avoid some of the cons of staying here.

7996401717_0aa4d48f04_zSleeper sofa in The Lion King Suite which converts to a double bed

108 (2) (1)Queen Bed in The Lion King Master Bedroom

AOA1The Little Mermaid Flippin’ Fins Pool

AOA2 The Inovabed as a table for four in the Finding Nemo Family Suite

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The Inovabed as a table for four in the Finding Nemo Family Suite
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The 4.3 cu. ft. refrigerator and microwave in the Finding Nemo Family Suite Kitchenette

AOA5 The Master Bath in the Finding Nemo Family Suite

Art-of-Animation-Resort-040Squirt’s Righteous Reef Playground in the Finding Nemo Courtyard

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AOA7

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AOA9

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Read: Disney Springs’ Boathouse Restaurant: Tips for Dining Under $20

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Attention Shoppers: Ride to Orlando’s Premium Outlets for FREE!

Orlando Premium Outlet Mall shuttle

Updated for 2017!

Orlando’s Premium Outlet malls offer a free shuttle service from certain area hotels. Simon property group has paired with Mears Transportation for the service connecting hotels to the malls. So many of you cheapskates bargain shoppers will now have the opportunity to do some shopping without having to pay for a cab ride there.

Busses can carry up to 50 passengers and include free wireless Internet. We sure love free, so how exactly does this work?

Operation Times

Hotel pick up runs between 9:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m., while drop off runs between 3:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Participating Malls

Each of the Premium Outlet malls will have a shuttle bus.

Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets

Orlando International Premium Outlets

How to Reserve a Seat

To reserve a seat, call 407-254-0470 or use this link: mallservice.mearstransportation.com.

The form looks like this:

Orlando Premium Outlets complimentary shuttle reservations

When you fill out the form, you will be notified of the drop off point, which looks like this:

Premium Outlet Malls shuttle to Disney resorts

Which Hotels are Participating?

The drop down menu listed the following hotels as of January 6, 2017.

orlandos-premium-outlet-malls-offer-a-free-shuttle-service orlandos-premium-outlet-malls-offer-free-shuttle-service

For those of you staying on Disney property, it looks like the only participating resorts are the Swan and Dolphin, although many of the Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels including B Resort & Spa, Best Western, Doubletree Suites, Hilton, and Holiday Inn will have pick up and drop off availability.

Shoppers still can use the I-Ride Trolley shuttle service that basically runs from the Orlando International Premium Outlet Mall the length of I-Drive to Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets. The I-Ride Trolley will cost $2 for a single trip or $5 for the day.

Orlando Premium Outlets

Orlando Premium Outlets

So, who is ready to go shopping?!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you at the Disney Character Outlet, looking for bargains.

 

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

When You Take a Fitbit To Disney

lose weight on a Disney vacation
Updated for 2017!
One of the best parts about a Disney vacation is enjoying the food and snacks, but sometimes it’s tough to abandon established workout regimens and daily food goals you’ve been working on maintaining for month, sometimes years. Can you continue healthy eating and exercising on vacation and still relax and have fun? Like aren’t exercise and vacation opposite concepts?! Will you come home from trying to stay in good shape on your trip with regrets you’ve missed out on fun and Disney FOOD?!
America is not a nation in great shape. Niddk.nih.gov reports that more than one-third of adults are considered to be obese. About one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight or obese. More than 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be obese. Livestrong.com cites Boston Medical Center information indicating that approximately 45 million Americans diet each year and spend $33 billion on weight-loss products in their efforts to love weight and look better.
If you are one of the millions on a diet and exercise plan this year, your time spent on a vacation is a struggle to return home with more souvenirs than extra pounds. There are unlimited diet plans and weight loss products out there, but the one I took to Disney World on our last trip was a Fitbit.

[Read more…]

Cheapskate Princess Caribbean Beach Resort Guide

caribbean beach resort guide

Walt Disney World’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a large, with over 200 acres surrounding a 45 acre lake called Barefoot Bay. There is a 1.3 mile path around the resort and lake which connects all the villages that is great for jogging or walking. The lake provides sandy beaches for sunbathing with hammocks for relaxing, though swimming is not permitted in the lake.

The Custom House at the main entrance is where guests check-in and acts as the arrival and departure points for guests using Disney’s Magical Express airport service. Bell Services is located here too. Check in time is 3 p.m.; check out time is 11 a.m. [Read more…]

Disney World 4 Le$$: Pony Rides Under $10

Tri-Circle D ranch pony ride tips

Updated for 2017!

Looking for activities for the younger crowd on a Disney World vacation that won’t cost a fortune? Head over to The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort for some true horse play!

What You Get

You get a pony ride on the petite ponies at Tri-Circle-D Ranch! Riders must be at least two years of age, under 80 pounds, no taller than 48 inches, and able to hang on to the pony by themselves. A parent or guardian must lead the pony at all times.

The Cost

$8.

Bring your wallet, because Tri-Circle-D accepts cash payments only.

Read: Disney World $.51 Souvenir Pennies

cheap stuff for kids at Disney World

Tri-Circle D ranch pony ride

Tri-Circle D ranch

Time and Location

Pony rides are offered daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. near Pioneer Hall at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

Need Reservations?

No reservations are necessary.

Read – Disney for Le$$: Charmed in the Park Jewelry

cheap activities at Disney resorts

Tri Circle D pony rides for kids

Tri-Circle D ranch pony rides for kids

Tri-Circle D ranch pony ride prices

How Do You Get There?

You can park on resort property, ride a boat over from Wilderness Lodge, or walk a paved trail through the woods from Wilderness Lodge to the ranch. We found walking from the Lodge to be a great outdoor activity in the winter months when it’s not so hot, which I wouldn’t recommend in the summer or warmer months.

There are lots of horses at the ranch, many of which perform at the parks and resorts and are not available for riding. Children should know that the Tri-Circle-D is not like a petting zoo. While some are available to ride and view for free, feeding and petting horses and ponies is not encouraged.

But they sure can be fun to watch.

After the kid’s pony ride, (keep in mind reservations – ADRs- are a great idea for this meal) head over to Wilderness Lodge for breakfast at one of our favorite places on Disney property:

Read – Disney World Meals Under $20: Whispering Canyon Cafe Breakfast

Tri-Circle D ranch pony rides

Tri-Circle D ranch pony rides cost

Pony ride at Walt Disney World

Call (407) 824-2832 for information about Tri-Circle-D Ranch’s other offerings, including horseback trail rides, wagon rides and private carriage rides. You can also use this link for more information. 

For details on another cheapskate activity at Tri-Circle-D Ranch, use this link:

Read – Doing Di$ney 4 Le$$: Wagon Rides Under $10

Enjoy reading Cheapskate Princess articles? Here is the best way to make sure you keep up with all the cheapskating Disney news. Over on the right side of this page, the right side of any Cheapskate Princess article, and you will find this box.

email

Simply type your e-mail address in the blue box, and you will then receive a confirmation e-mail. Once you confirm your e-mail subscription, several times a week, Cheapskate Princess articles will appear in your e-mail in-box, just like Disney magic, and it’s totally free to sign up.

You don’t have to be a cheapskate to know that…is a real bargain.

 

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you and the kids headed over toward the ponies, resting your feet if you just walked over from Wilderness Lodge.

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

The Pros & Cons of Staying at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Caribbean Beach Pros and Cons

Situated near Epcot and Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando lies the lush tropical-themed Caribbean Beach Resort.  This moderate resort provides the amenities and comforts one would expect from a Disney resort, with a very relaxing island vibe.  If you are looking for a quiet, tropical vacation, this could be the perfect resort for you. It’s a big property at over 200 acres, which has both good and bad points.

Compared to Disney’s value resorts, the moderate resorts typically provide larger rooms, queen beds – though there are exceptions, more on-site dining options, and upgraded pools with slides. Compared to Disney’s Deluxe resorts, moderates typically provide smaller rooms, not as-lush accommodations, fewer on-site dining options and fewer park transportation options. Caribbean Beach Resort provides a great middle ground for first time and seasoned visitors alike.

Let this Pros and Cons of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort list help you decide if this is the vacation property for you and your family!

Disney World Resort Hopping

Caribbean Beach Resort of the 2112 rooms, 350 are specially Pirate Themed Rooms

Caribbean Beach Resort Pros:

  • For larger families, rooms can comfortably accommodate 5 adults
  • Other than the Pirate themed rooms, all rooms with 2 beds have 2 queen sized beds
  • Designed like a fortress, complete with water canons, this has one of the best themed resort pools
  • Main pool and kids splash area have zero entry, which is perfect for little ones
  • Never hard to get a chair at the pools, since there are 7 pools to choose from
  • Larger resort size and lower density buildings help keep resort quiet
  • Food Court is adjacent to main pool; very convenient for refill mugs and quick meals and snacks
  • Lush green landscape throughout the resort
  • Newly refurbished rooms feel new and modern yet comfortable and fresh
  • Registered guests receive free resort and theme park parking
  • Registered guests receive access to Extra Magic Hours in the parks when offered
  • Free airport transportation via Disney’s Magical Express
  • Free Disney Theme Park transportation via bus every 15-20 minutes
  • Resort shuttle available, running the interior of all bus stops to Port Royale area
  • Islands of the Caribbean Pirate Cruise offered for the little ones (for an extra fee)

Caribbean Beach Resort Cons:

  • No elevators for those with mobility issues
  • Transportation can take longer than other Walt Disney World moderate resorts as there are two more resort-wide bus stops
  • Larger resort means it can be a long walk from your room to Old Port Royale or to a bus stop
  • Pirate Themed rooms beds are same sized as value resorts and not a fit for those who need queen sized beds
  • No balconies outside of rooms
  • Only location for refill on resort mugs is at the Old Port Royale area, which is not convenient for all rooms

Differences in the Disney World Resort Levels

pros of Disney's Carrbbean Beach Resort

Disney World Caribbean Resort

Disney moderate vacation resorts

Knowing the pros and the cons can certainly help you decide if this is good resort for your family. My assessment is this is most definitely a resort to try for your next Disney vacation.  I think the good qualities outweigh the bad with this property. With the right planning, you can avoid some of the cons with staying here.

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Walt Disney World Must Eat? Chocolate Covered Caramel Apples

disney-world-must-dos-food

Updated for 2017!

There are certainly a lot of snack options at Walt Disney World. Food makes up such an important, and expensive, part of vacations, that sometimes choosing what to munch on can be overwhelming. How do you know you picked the best snack for your money?

Never fear, a Cheapskate Princess is here! [Read more…]

20 Cheapskate Tips for Accommodations and Tickets at Disney World

Save money on Diney tickets and lodging

Updated for 2017!

Disney World seems to get more expensive every year; if you’ve been following recent changes on ticket increases and up-charges for parking and extra park hours, then you already know that. There are a few tricks you can use to save some money on accommodations and tickets, keeping in mind that you get what you pay for, and if it sound too good to be true, it probably is.

If you ever weighed your options for staying on-property versus off-property to save enough ca$hola to stay on vacation for an extra day, you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!

Read – Cheapskate Guides: Mucho Tips for Planing a Disney World Vacation

Cheapskate Guide to saving money at Disney

1. If staying on property is a must-do, then stay in the Value Resorts to save money. If you plan to spend your waking hours at the parks, all you probably need is a bed and a shower anyway, so no need to pay lot more for it. The difference between Value Resorts and the next level, Moderate Resorts, can be about $80 and up per night. Described as affordable comfort and convenience for families on the go starting at (2017) $93, the Value Resorts are Pop Century, All-Stars (Movies, Sports, Music,) and Art of Animation.

2. If you want to spend more time in your room, around your resort, or see more of Orlando, stay in a Moderate level resort rather than splurge on Deluxe accommodations. The Deluxe Resorts start in price about $140 more than Moderate level, and $200 more than the Value resorts, and that’s just a starting point. Combining beautiful themes and value starting at $166 a night, the Moderates Resorts are Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans (French Quarter and Riverside) and Cabins at Fort Wilderness. Use this link for more information:

value-vs-moderate-resort-cost-comparison

Read – Differences in the Disney World Resort Levels: A Cheapskate Guide

stay at a Disney Moderate resort to save money from Deluxe

3. Regardless of the resort level you choose, stay during low or fall season to save money. Value Season is the least expensive and least crowded time of the year, followed by Fall Season, Regular Season, Summer Season, Peak Season and Holiday Season. Value season has dates in January through early February. Fall season has certain dates in August, September, October, November and December. Anytime there is a holiday where school is out, there will be crowds at Disney World and room rates will be more expensive.

4. Staying on property gives you the perk of free parking. There is no cost to park at your resort with a reservation, and you won’t have to pay to park if you drive your car to the parks.  The parking cost is built into your room cost, and therefore you’ll avoid paying an extra $20 a day.  

5. Staying on property gives you access to Extra Magic Hours, which means you get more time in the theme parks without paying any additional money. That’s built into your room cost, if you choose not to go to the parks when Extra Magic Hours are offered. EMHs allow you to enter the parks early before general visitors arrive and stay after those visitors leave on certain designated days of the week. Crowds will be lighter during Extra Magic Hours than during regular operating hours. 

Read – Why Disney’s Extra Magic Hours Are Totally Worth a Cheapskate’s Money!

why Extra Magic Hours are worth staying on Disney property

6. Why pay full price? Stay on property when Disney offers discounts. Special offers and deals are announced throughout the year in one form or another. You can save money on room rates and vacation packages, and unless they end this special, free dining will hopefully be available for limited dates in the fall. You just have to be willing to travel during certain times of year. Use this link to the direct Disney special offers page. Travel Agents will be glad to let you know when deals and discounts are released. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Disney Vacation Planners with Destinations in Florida travel. If you book a vacation and deals are announced afterward, our TAs will apply these discounts to your trip. 

7. Flying in? Stay at a Disney resort, and the Magical Express will take you to and from the Orlando International Hotel for free. This complimentary motorcoach transportation also comes with free luggage delivery. Purchasing vacation packages are not required to take advantage of this free service. When you make your Disney resort reservation, if you do not select Disney’s Magical Express and include flight information, just contact your booking agent for your Disney Resort hotel reservation number, or get your reservation online on the My Reservations page in My Disney Experience.

If you arrive between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., it can take up to three hours for your luggage to be delivered to your resort room, so be sure to pack what you need in bags that stay with you. 

Read – 5 Steps for Planning a Disney Vacation

Save money at Walt Disney World

8. Book a hotel room using expedia.com. You may find a lower rate than booking directly through Disney, and they offer free cancellation on your room up to several days out from your trip. 

9. Have AAA? They offer room discounts for Disney hotels. AAA requires annual membership fees. Classic AAA Memberships are $49, AAA Plus is $79, and AAA Premier is $101. All of these memberships require a $20 one-time admission fee. Use this link to AAA. 

10. If you have ever served in the armed forces, you can get military discounts. Disney offers room and tickets discounts for our military. Shades of Green is the only Armed Forces Recreation Center located in the continental United States. To be eligible, you or a family member must be a current or retired member of the Reserve and National Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Cadets of Armed Forces Academies. Use this link to shadesofgreen.org for eligibility information.

Read: How to Beat the Disney Rash!

disney-military-discounts-2017

Other Lodging Ideas

11. Have a camper or a tent? The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort are less expensive than some off-property resort or hotel stays, but Disney camping gives you all the Disney property privileges, like a pool, outdoor movies, and character meet and greets. You can cook your own meals to save money, and there are toilettes, showers, and laundry facilities throughout the campground.

Prices for 2017:

  • Tent or pop-up campsites start at $55.00
  • Full hook-up campsites start at $71.00
  • Preferred campsites start at $85.00
  • Premium campsites start at $90.00 

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort also offers cabins for rent, but starting at $309 (2017) a night, these cabins are classified as Moderate Resorts and expensive, triple the cost of a Premium campsite and usually more than double the cost of a Value Resort. 

12. Have a big family? The least expensive Disney Resort rooms allow only four people, so if you stay on property, you’ll need two rooms or a more expensive room that allows for five or more. Many people with larger families or traveling with groups rent houses off property. There are many house rental companies that serve the Orlando area, including All-Star Vacation Homes and IPG Florida Vacation Homes. Another great option our family has used with good results is Vacation Rentals by Owners (VRBO.com)

13. If you ever wanted to stay at a Disney Vacation Club Resort but have not joined the DVC yourself, you can save money renting DVC points using businesses like David’s Vacation Club Rentals and DVC Rental Store. You can save up to 40% off retail prices, but remember retail prices for Vacation Club accommodation are really high. The following locations are available for use with DVC points:

  • Animal Kingdom Villas
  • Bay Lake Tower  
  • Beach Club Villas
  • BoardWalk Villas  
  • Grand Floridian Villas
  • Old Key West Resort
  • Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
  • Saratoga Springs Resort
  • Wilderness Lodge Village

Read – Disney World Vacation Planning: Non-Holiday Dates to Avoid

rent DVC points to save money at Disney World

Cheapskate Guides for buying Disney tickets

14. Let’s start with the fact that you do not need to have tickets every day of your vacation. I know lots of people who want to be seated on a roller coaster every waking moment of their trip, but this can be tough traveling with younger children or older adults who may tire easily. We high recommend a free day, or even two, to explore the resort properties, swim, shop, and relax. Use this link for ideas for a free day: Disney World Tips for Kids: “Free Day” Fun Activities.

15. Head to the beach! Orlando is only about an hour or two from several free beaches, including Cocoa Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Clearwater Beach, Daytona Beach, and Canaveral National Seashore. Swim, build a sand castle, and take a walk along the shore.  

16. You will pay less per day for your theme park tickets when you purchase more days/tickets, and it’s a significant amount. Adult Disney World park tickets for four days cost $305.00, at a per day cost of $81.25. Adult tickets for seven days cost $350.00, at a per day cost of $52.86. 

save money on Disney World tickets

So the more days you play at the parks, the less you will pay per day.

17. Be wary of fantastic ticket offers. A website called orlandowego.com offers $35 one-day Disney tickets, which normally cost three times that amount. In small print at the bottom of the page is a tag line, “THIS ADVERTISING MATERIAL IS BEING USED FOR THE PURPOSE OF SOLICITING SALES OF VACATION OWNERSHIP PLANS.” Companies are not giving you discount tickets for no reason. Ticket prices too good to be true probably are, and you could find yourself using park time for sitting through a time share presentation.

18. I always recommend buying tickets straight from Disney, because I don’t like to take any chances. But if you want to go for a slight ticket discount, use reliable sources like MouseSavers or Undercover Tourist. You do not want to be standing at the gate dealing with problems from tickets you purchased from a less reputable seller just to save a few dollars. This would be a terrible way to start off a vacation. 

Read – Disney World Meals Under $20: Whispering Canyon Cafe Breakfast

cheaper to Drive to Disney

19. Other theme parks in or near Orlando offer less expensive ticket prices than Disney tickets. You might not have traveled to Orlando just to visit Disney parks, but that’s certainly an option if you are on a budget. Let’s compare 2017 one-day ticket prices for Orlando theme parks before taxes. 

  • Magic Kingdom $97 Value ($102 Regular, $114 Peak)*
  • SeaWorld $79
  • Busch Gardens $79 (about an hour away from Orlando)

Universal Studios Orlando has undergone a huge increase in traffic since the addition of the Harry Potter sections of their parks. Universal offers a one-park ticket for $105. There is no tiered pricing at Universal, so this ticket would be better than a Peak Season ticket at Disney, but just barely. Saving money wouldn’t be a reason to visit Universal Studios in Orlando, but visiting for the fabulous theme park experience would be.

*To learn more about ticket seasons, use this link: Disney Parks Seasonal Tiered Ticket Pricing: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

20. To save money on Disney tickets, don’t purchase the Park Hopper Option. You will spend valuable time moving from one park to another, and you will pay more per day for the option of going to different parks on the same day. A one-day ticket to Magic Kingdom during Regular Season before tax is $110. Adding the Park Hopper Option takes the price total to $160. If you purchase four-day tickets, your price before taxes is $325.00. Adding the Park Hopper Option takes the price total to $394. You’ll save $69 when you skip park hopping, which can add up if you are traveling with a group. 

Read: Christmas Holidays at the Disney World Resorts…Where to Find the FREE Stuff!

Did we miss a tip that saves you money? Leave us a comment so we can add it to our list. If you’re going to be a cheapskate, you might as well be a Cheapskate Princess!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you rolling quarters and eating sandwiches for lunch, saving up for your Disney vacation…

 

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

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Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.